Jan 13, 2022

Fibre Connectivity: Delivering sustainability and opportunities for South Africa’s SMEs

The Riversands I-Hub is a campus for high potential small businesses, bringing together strategy, marketing and sales resources, systems and operations, premises and business services in a unified entrepreneurial community consisting of 150+ small businesses.

One of these crucial services provided is high speed, fibre internet which for pretty much every business, is an absolute must-have, providing the backbone of all business communications, customer and supplier engagement – from banking to processing sales and orders and everything in between.

In September 2018, MetroFibre Networx stepped on board to provide fibre infrastructure for the Riversands I-Hub, bringing affordable, reliable and superfast internet connectivity to the small businesses on campus, and a welcome relief from the high costs and limitations of mobile broadband.

One of the Riversands I-Hub’s entrepreneurs is Sipamandla Manqele, founder of and passionate driver behind Local Village Foods.  This experienced entrepreneur has a solid history in the food production industry backed by bucketloads of innovation, great strategy and leadership skills. She is inspired by the African continent, its diverse cultures and its quest for social and economic unity. One of the ways Sipamandla seeks to achieve free and fair trade across Africa is through indigenous super foods, which she believes has the power to bring people together.

“Local Village Foods was founded on my vision of bringing together a network of vibrant, local agripreneurs from across the continent, supplying equitably sourced and sustainably grown indigenous African ingredients. What better way to experience our diverse cultures than through our food?  Our customers care about what they eat, the hands that cultivate, and how it is marketed and sold. They are conscious, pan-African, living in the cities of the world, but who crave the tastes of their rural homes. They are global citizens whose sophisticated palates are open to experiencing different tastes of the continent, and we aim to deliver this experience for them!” explains Sipamandla.

With her suppliers, stakeholders and her customers scattered across the continent, its understandable that fibre connectivity plays a key role in the smooth running of her business and all its daily operations.

“It’s fundamental to ensuring that our team works together effectively, for communicating, for transacting and so many aspects of our business. For small business, it’s the means to connect teams, customers, colleagues and stakeholders. It’s the key to the cloud. It’s how we educate ourselves, find new suppliers and customers and serve existing ones, it’s how we spread the news about our business.  Fibre internet provides greater business efficiency and performance – it creates sustainability and opportunity in so many ways for a small business. When you think about it, it’s near impossible to run any successful business in our modern, fast-paced world without the power of fibre underpinning it,” says Sipamandla.

Gary Webster of MetroFibre Networx adds: “MetroFibre is proud to contribute in some way to the amazing work being done at the Riversands I-Hub in supporting small businesses and creating an powerful entrepreneurial community. An initiative like the Riversands I-Hub is something to seize upon and to invest in. The quality and speed of the fibre connections needed by our SME customers in the current circumstances is paramount – just about every facet of our business lives has become data intensive overnight. A technologically-enabled future is the only way to achieve greater economic and social inclusion for all South Africans, and enhances the competitiveness of our economy as we embrace the 4th Industrial revolution. As MetroFibre grows and acquires the critical mass on our network, it makes absolute sense that we reinvest back into our communities and play our part to ensure that no small business gets left behind. Being a part of the incredible initiative that Riversands I-Hub is, and the ambitious and promising small businesses housed there is a stunning example of what can be achieved when we work together as South Africans to make things happen.”

For more information about Local Village Foods go to https://localvillagefoods.com/

For more information about Riversands I-Hub go to https://www.riversandsihub.co.za/